In Louisiana, king cake is more than just dessert—it’s an entire season. From the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6 until Fat Tuesday (which falls on February 13 this year), these traditional Carnival treats can be found in nearly every bakery and grocery store in the state.
A standard New Orleans-style king cake consists of cinnamon-swirled brioche dough topped with icing and Mardi Gras-colored sugar or sprinkles: purple for justice, green for faith, and gold for power. A small plastic baby or other trinket is baked or placed into the cake, and the person who gets the piece with the baby is expected to provide the king cake for the next party.
While the cinnamon-filled versions are most traditional, cream cheese and fruit fillings are common additions. What’s more, many bakers go outside the box with exciting flavors, like Lilah’s Bakery in Shreveport, which offers a maple bacon king cake, and Breads on Oak in New Orleans, which has started a new tradition with its alcohol-infused creations. Some bakeries also sell French king cakes, or galettes des rois, made with puff pastry and a decadent almond filling.
From New Orleans to Cajun Country and beyond, we rounded up some of our favorite king cakes for you to try this Carnival season. Whether you’re craving a classic cinnamon king cake or want to try something new, these treats will make a sweet addition to your celebrations.